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Caps Piano Bar 2610 Briar Ridge, 713-784-0024.
CatbirdsHuge murals of American music legends dominate the decor at this eclectic, dimly lit Lower Westheimer date place with a vaguely New Orleans vibe, and the sounds they made constitute the soundtrack. Want to share a bottle of wine while Sarah Vaughan or Xavier Cugat provides the background music? Come here, and you and that someone will be sitting in the catbird seat. Brainboxes will be put in that same zone by the bar's heavy emphasis on NTN Trivia. 1336 Westheimer, 713-523-8000.
Cardi’s 9301 Bissonnet, 713-270-0053.
Carrington’s Sports Bar 6985 S. Main, 713-669-8009.
Cezanne This venerable jazz club, located above the Black Labrador restaurant, is a breath of fresh air. Classy and elegant, with framed prints of paintings by its namesake on the walls, this is a place where serious music aficionados can go to actually listen to the best local and touring jazz performers, ranging from traditional and Latin acts all the way to Western swing. Antique furniture, track lighting and a friendly, knowledgeable waitstaff are mere icing on the cake. 4100 Montrose, 713-522-9621.
Chilly Willy’s Black stencil lettering on the metal exterior of this Lee College student hangout suggests a makeshift establishment at best, and the interior decor doesn’t promise much more, but Chilly Willy’s is about the only place that caters to the understandably discontented drinking-age youth of the Baytown area. DJs alternate with an eclectic array of original bands every week, and each Sunday at 9 p.m. brings the highly competitive freestyle hip-hop contest, the only one of its kind for miles around. So bring your skills, ’cause the hundred-buck prize could sure help out with some bills. 1201 Alexander, Baytown, 281-420-2848.
Christian’s Tailgate Bar & Grill 7340 Washington Ave., 713-864-9744.
City Lites A mellow and insular (not to say comatose) neighborhood crowd lines the bar here nightly. You get the sense that everyone here knows everyone else so well that there’s little need to speak, and the domestic beer just keeps pouring. Country and “light rock and roll” bands set up on Wednesdays ’n’ weekends, and all are careful not to upset the well-cultivated schnockered lassitude. Good times! 421 E. Texas, Baytown, 281-422-0990.
Clark's The denizens of this downtown recording studio/dance club seem to literally kill the night. Thunderous speakers keep the clubgoers bouncing like fuel-injected marionettes, and the hectic bar scene might cause the more dipsomaniacally inclined to ask, “Don’t you think we should have just gotten loaded beforehand?” And since drinks take a backseat to dancing, the sheer energy of the place nullifies the need for an obligatory trek to the bar every 15 minutes to refill the glass. The John Evans Band plays every Friday. 314 Main St., 713-237-8220.
Club Go You’re probably not pretty enough to be in this dance spot, where guys dance with girls who dance with other girls who dance with guys dancing with guys. Confused? Just go with it. Once home to the now-defunct Hyperia, this feast of flesh pounds out dance and hip-hop beats into the late hours while sundry events such as a Miss Darque Tan competition or a luau roll by seemingly unnoticed by the sweaty hordes. 2001 Commerce, 713-225-GOGO.
Club Riddims Anyone who goes out looking for a serious dose of reggae flavor eventually ends up at Riddims, regardless of the fact that this hallowed reggae/dancehall spot is situated in a strip mall in the burbs. On any given weekend night, the parking lot fills to the point where a quick stop at the Bluemountain Cafe for a beef patty becomes nearly impossible. 8220 W. Bellfort, 713-779-0033.
Cock-Eyed SeagullDon’t flinch at the huge Open Water-esque shark frozen in mid-lunge over the bar, it’s all part of the maritime theme here, which also encompasses murals featuring more-or-less cartoonish sea life and scuba divers. In fact, the entire place is decked out to resemble a ship, all the way to the outdoor observation deck. Rock and blues bands with sufficiently developed sea legs play here every Thursday through Saturday, there’s never a cover charge, and the poop deck is perpetually scrubbed, so drink up, me hearties. Or whatever. Marina Gate Center, 1010 NASA Rd. 1, ste. B, Webster, 281-335-5400.
Continental ClubThe crowd at this Midtown country/roots rock club runs the gamut from alt-country hipsters and Brylcreemed rockabilly fanatics to the occasional nine-to-fiver dropping in for happy hour -- basically, if you're not uptight you're welcome. While the place books name national and regional acts, Houston favorites like the loungy El Orbits also appear regularly. Cheap drinks, pool tables and shuffleboard in the back room, a large back deck and groovy vintage accoutrements like a giant bingo board and Atari tournaments on the bar TVs give the place a casual vibe even when it's packed. 3700 Main, 713-529-9899.
The Corner Pocket 5626 Red Bluff Rd., Pasadena, 281-991-6979.
Cosmos Cafe By day, it offers some of the best burgers and grilled tuna sandwiches in town. By night, it fills with hipsters in their forties and fifties and the local, almost-famous acts they've always loved. Want to be regaled with tales of old Washington Avenue, when Herschel Berry, the Dishes and the Cold Cuts ruled the roost? Come to Cosmos and hear the survivors tell the tales, in both words and music. 69 Heights Blvd., 713-802-2144.
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